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Seton’s Seder meal

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“What is that smell?” “Where is it coming from?” “What is the occasion?” To find the answers to these questions, one needed to ask an 11th-grader.


The distinctive smell of roasting lamb wound its way through the hallways of Seton School in Manassas in preparation for the annual junior class Seder meal on the last day of school before Easter vacation. The previous day, Father Noah Morey, parochial vicar of All Saints Church in Manassas, prepared the class for the Seder meal by teaching about the Eucharistic Discourse and the High Priestly Prayer from St. John’s Gospel. He also pointed out that there was no lamb at the Last Supper because the Lamb of God offered Himself in sacrifice and as food.


“Father Noah’s insights on Jesus as the High Priest and His ordaining the Apostles as the priests of the New Covenant were amazing,” said Kevin Geiran.


The juniors prepared matzahs, cracker-like squares that represent the unleavened bread Jews took on their quick escape from Egypt; charoset, a sweet mixture of chopped apples, cinnamon and juice that represents the mortar used by Hebrew slaves to make bricks; and hard-boiled eggs, which represent the life cycle. The ceremony also included bitter herbs, leafy lettuce and other Seder plate staples.


“We did substitute grape juice for wine, but the grape juice was of a very good year,” said Will Mooney.


The traditional four questions of the Passover meal were asked of Seamus Koehr, the oldest junior and presider over the meal. Koehr also hid the afikomen: the broken, middle matzah that is wrapped in a linen cloth. Christians see that this matzah represents the crucified, buried body of Jesus.


Lucy Healey, the youngest class member, guided by the shouts of the rest of the class, searched for the afikomen. The finding and returning of the linen-wrapped bread represents Christ’s Resurrection. Jesus changed this piece of matzah and the third cup of wine at the Last Supper into His Body and Blood. “I loved all the symbolism involved in the meal. It was a beautiful way to lead into the Triduum,” said Catie Moore.


After the recitation of the Hallel Psalms, Abigail Fucci opened the door to allow the entrance of the spirit of the prophet Elijah, precursor of the Messiah.  


“It is always great when the whole class gets together for an event,” said Matt Sprinkle. “And the Seder taught me about the Jewish traditions that Jesus transformed.” Other students agreed that the Seder connected them with their Jewish roots.


Once the ceremonies were completed, the students enjoyed the food and the lunch hour that was different from every other lunch hour.


© Arlington Catholic Herald 2017